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OS X Lion: Applications Introduction Course Overview What is an Application? PowerPC Applications Installing Applications Related Resources Advanced Resources Symptoms & Fixes Troubleshooting Practice Learning Resources Contact Us Printer Friendly

OS X Lion: Applications

This course covers applications and the related resources that support them. Knowing how these work together with Mac OS X will help you troubleshoot and resolve application issues.

Course Overview

Course Objectives
Explain what applications are and what they do Describe the various ways applications can be installed Identify resources that can support applications Determine and resolve common application issues



Time Required

You will need

Technicians who wish to troubleshoot and service Mac computers

OS X Lion: Basics, Installation, Startup, File System

60 minutes

OS X Lion (10.7 Mac computer, Pri and Internet conne

What is an Application?

An application (or "app" for short) is a computer program that gives users the tools to accomplish speci tasks. The term arises from the fact that the software 'applies' the computer's processing power to a sp task for the user.

Applications range from simple utilities, designed for a single function (such as Activity Monitor); to com ones with many controls (such as Final Cut Pro). When you launch an application in Mac OS X, it may display: an interface window


an interface window a new document window palettes, tool bar, or other interface components or it could display nothing at all - until you open or create a new file

Learning Resources
"Intel-based Mac: How to tell if an application is Universal" (TA23896) "Intel-based Mac: Learn about device drivers" (TA23898) "Intel-based Mac: Some migrated applications may need to be updated" (TS1963) "Intel-based Macs: Forcing a Universal application to run with Rosetta" (HT1730) "Mac 101: Set your preferences" (HT2490) "Mac OS X: How to quit an unresponsive application using Force Quit" (HT3411) "Mac OS X: Reading system memory usage in Activity Monitor" (HT1342) "Mac OS X: Starting up in Safe Mode" (HT1455) "Mac OS X: What is Safe Boot, Safe Mode?" (HT1564) "Software Installation Quick Assist" (HT1148) "Useful Mac OS X Terms: What are Frameworks?" (TA25631)

PowerPC Applications

Older applications designed for PowerPC-based Macs will not work in OS X Lion. Previously, these appli could run on Intel-based Mac using a dynamic translator called Rosetta. Rosetta is no longer supported X Lion.

This prohibitory sign over an application indicates that that it is a PowerPC application:

Need to run these older applications?

If an updated version of the application is not available and the user wishes to continu running these older applications, consider creating a dual boot configuration with Mac Snow Leopard (10.6) on one partition and OS X (10.7) on another.

Incompatible Software Folder


folder named "Incompatible Software".

While upgrading to OS X Lion, the installer will identify and move PowerPC application

Installing Applications
In addition to the applications that come with Mac OS X, there are thousands of others to choose from. Installation methods include:

Use the Installer Package

If an application is designed to be installed with an installer package, copying them fro one computer to another is not recommended. Necessary components and resources not be copied over!

Who's the application for?

On a Mac, applications can be installed for all users or for a specific user. For all users, install into the root level Applications folder. (/Applications) For a specific user, install into their Home Application folder. (~/Applications)

Learning Activity
Familiarize yourself with the Mac App Store by purchasing a free app.

Related Resources

Resources specify how applications should function. Using common resources, we can tell the applicati we prefer to work.

Application Preferences

Users can share applications found in the root level applications folder (/Applications). These applicatio


doesn't change. Instead "preferences" customize the working environment for that specific user.

typically have settings that can be adjusted by each user. When adjustments are made, the application i

Example: Safari will store Homepage, security, and other default preferences for each user. Mac OS X and the application work together to save customized settings separately for each user. They affect any other users' configuration of that application.

System Preferences

The System Preferences pane controls system-wide settings ("global" settings), and is available from th menu at the upper-left corner of the screen. System Preferences lets you to adjust things like your scre resolution, keyboard and mouse control, sound, and more

Preferences are grouped in these categories: Personal, Hardware, Internet and Wireless and System. A fi preference pane may appear when adding third-party software or hardware:

Applications that might add preferences to the system preference window include utilities, suites (collec apps), or enterprise-specific or proprietary software.



Plist Files

Special resource files called plist (short for "property list") store a user's application preferences. Stored user's Library folder (/User/~/Library/Preferences/) they allow each user to have their own set of applic and system preferences.

Apple provides developers with guidelines to ensure plist file names are unique to each developer. The convention is each software developers unique domain name followed by the application or library nam example, the Finder uses the identifier so Finder preferences are saved in

Don't Modify Plist Files

Although plist files can be opened using a text editor, they should not be modified as corrupt the file causing problems with the associated application. Instead, use the associated application's Preferences menu(s) to customize settings.

Corrupted Plist Files = Strange Application Behavior

If an application starts exhibiting strange behavior, it might have been caused by an improper shut down or disk corruption. Try temporarily moving or renaming plist files restarting the application. The application will create new plist files.

Advanced Resources


A framework is a dynamic (loaded only when used) shared software library (similar to the shared or dynamically-linked libraries (DLLs) in Windows). Framework files reside at /System/Library/Frameworks

Frameworks contain code that can be shared by multiple applications as well Mac OS X. This code can b shared among different parts of the operating system or applications. For instance, if a manufacturer p a suite of productivity software, applications can share the common code. Another example: application (regardless of the manufacturer) that author render HTML web pages typically use the "WebKit" framewo

Framework Mismatch
It is conceivable that if Mac OS X or an application is reinstalled, it may inadvertently


It is conceivable that if Mac OS X or an application is reinstalled, it may inadvertently

'downgrade' a framework needed by another application. This will result in the affecte this course to learn how to correct the problem.

application not to launch. Refer to Symptom #1 in the Symptoms and Resolutions sect

Kernel Extensions

Kernel extensions are software drivers that attach themselves to the Mac OS X kernel (the core of the op system). Kernel extensions provide driver support for hardware, networking, and peripherals. Extension and unload automatically, so there is little need to manage extensions as is common in other operating systems.

Kernel extensions are generally supplied by the manufacturer of the device. Some generic device driver included with Mac OS X, but most manufacturers make their own drivers in order to customize the featu available through their product.

Kernel extension files in Mac OS X typically use the ".kext" file name suffix, so they are also known as K These files are installed in /System/Library/Extensions.

Is a kernel extension causing problems?

If you suspect that a faulty kernel extension is causing problems, use Safe Boot. It disa

all third-party kernel extensions and allowing you to isolate the problem. Refer to the Troubleshooting Tools course for more information on this procedure.

Symptoms and Fixes

Here are frequent problems reported by users when using applications. Follow steps in the order indica below to resolve the issue.

Information that can help troubleshoot application problems

OS X Lion records valuable diagnostic information about applications, from routine sta messages to detailed errors and warnings. Use Console (Applications > Utilities > Con to review these logs.

Symptom #1: Application doesn't launch Symptom #2: Application opens briefly, but crashes or is unresponsive ("hangs") Symptom #3: Document doesn't open

Symptom #1: Application doesn't launch


You click an application in the Dock; it bounces once or twice and stops. It doesn't launch. (This is a typ symptom of a framework mismatch.) Resolution

1. After reinstalling Mac OS X or reinstalling/installing a new application, run Software Update. (This ensures that the Mac has the most recent versions of application and OS frameworks installed 2. For third party applications, download updates from the vendor's website and install.


2. For third party applications, download updates from the vendor's website and install.

Note: The order in which software is installed and updated does matter. A good order to follow would b 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Install OS Update OS using Software Update Install applications Update applications Update OS again using Software Update

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Symptom #2: Application opens briefly, but crashes or is unresponsive ("hang


Application appears to launch and appears briefly. It then disappears, unexpectedly quits or is unrespo Resolution 1. Reinstall the application. 2. Run Software Update. It will update the operating system (and Apple applications). 3. For third party applications, download updates from the vendor's website and install. Back to top of page

Symptom #3: Document doesn't open

Summary A document or file doesn't open with the application you'd expect it to. Resolution Isolate the cause of the problem. 1. Try opening a different document within the application. 2. Try opening the document from another application that supports the same document type. 3. Try logging in as a different user.

If the problem disappears, the problem could be improper preference settings or application suppo in the other user account. If the problem still appears, the application or its support files could be corrupted. Try the following:

4. Try removing the applications files from the Application Support folders in /Library and ~/Library. 5. Instead of deleting these files during troubleshooting, first move them to an alternate location to s this helps resolve the problem. If the problem still appears, move the files back to their original location and proceed.

6. Try deleting and reinstalling the application to restore the resource files that might have been corru or deleted.

Where is the user's Library folder?

The user's Library folder is deliberately hidden in OS X Lion to protect against accident tampering. 1. Go to the User's Home Folder 2. Hold down the Option key 3. Go to: Finder > Go Menu > Library

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Troubleshooting Practice

Taken from the experiences of Apple service personnel, here is a troubleshooting scenario involving the concepts presented in this course.

Scenario #1: Missing Settings

A customer reports that she is having problems with her photo editing application. In the three months has owned her Mac, everything has always worked fine until this morning. Now, when she opens the application, color palettes, favorite filters and brushes are missing. She was going to edit photos that sh of yesterday's lightening storms that caused widespread power outages.

The customer has not recently installed or updated any applications; or upgraded the operating system Why is her application is behaving this way? Click here to view answer